Tag Archives: hiring

You can’t poke, tweet or email a handshake

Never a truer adage when looking for a job not what but who you know.  Your network is key to a successful job search strategy.   Growing your network has never been easier.   Social media has taken care of that.

No matter how extensive your virtual network, no matter how advanced and extensive your use of technology, nothing beats good old-fashioned face time.  Pressing the flesh, shaking hands, eyeballing, getting up close and personal, this is how and when things happen.

Whilst building your network online is certainly of value, building your network in the good old-fashioned way is still the best way to real results.

You can’t email a handshake.  It will cost you, time, shoe leather, cups of coffee, a round of sandwiches, dinner, a glass or two, some good questions, lots of listening and conversing, following up, staying in touch, but make the investment.  Get out from behind the desk, get away from the screen and get in the room.  It might just change your life.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Careers, Social Media

Public Sector Pay – Time to redress the balance.

For too long we have been operating in the UK a publicly funded job creation scheme, which in itself would not be such a bad thing were it not for the fact that those taking from and taking out of the public sector would appear to be entirely motivated by money.  That, in public service, is fundamentally wrong.

The median average hourly rate of pay in the public sector is 30% higher than the private sector.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12549785

We had last weekend the well publicised story of the former leader of South Somerset District Council leaving his post and accepting a pay off in salary, redundancy payments and pension contributions of £569,000 after 6 years service.

Yes, that’s right, you read it correctly, FIVE – HUNDRED & SIXTY NINE THOUSAND POUNDS!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8342025/Council-boss-who-got-record-pay-off-in-line-for-another-lucrative-position.html

My issue is that none or certainly nowhere near enough of the money that is spent on wages in the public sector goes to those that deserve it most.  Nurses, Teachers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters.  There are countless others I can add to that list.  These are the people that should be reaping the benefit of the increase in standards that we have seen in the last 10 years in public sector pay and conditions.  So why aren’t they?

The problem is that those that enter public service in these posts do so generally out of a sense of vocation, purpose and to serve others.  They don’t do it first and foremost for the money, they do it for a whole host of other reasons.  Therefore they tend to be at the back of the queue when it comes to being rewarded for the great work that they do.  They deserve a great wage for doing great work.  They don’t get it.  That sucks.

I don’t buy the argument that Public Sector bodies need to pay great salaries to attract great talent at the top.  If you are motivated by money ( and there is nothing wrong in that ) then by all means stay in the private sector, take your risks, take your chances and fill your boots.

If you are motivated by a desire to serve the greater good and public service ticks that box for you then by all means go run a hospital, a local council, but why on earth should you even think you should be paid more than the Prime Minister for doing so?  Who is running the remuneration committees in these organisation?

Certainly don’t walk away with in excess of 1/2 million quid for voluntary redundancy when the vast majority of those in your employ are earning less than 25 times that number!  That disgusts me.   It smacks of greed, lining of one’s own pocket from the public purse.  I know it happens, it is just not right and something needs to be done to stop it.

I would be delighted were I to be evidencing the average median hourly rate in the public sector was 30% higher than the private sector because nurses were paid so much more.  That figure is so high because those at the top have their noses in the trough, and its our trough.

If the CEO of a FTSE 100 company is being paid millions that is an issue for his or hers shareholders.  It is their money, not mine ( unless of course they are a bank! )  Time to redress the balance.  Give the money to those that deserve it most.  That is the basis of great public service.

5 Comments

Filed under Careers, Remuneration

A little thanks goes a long way

After Birthday parties, Christmas or any other times of celebration my children sit down and write thank you notes to all those who have sent them a gift.  It’s time-consuming ( they are lucky kids, too often spoiled rotten by doting Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles ) but I think it important that they acknowledge the time and effort people around them have gone to.

This is not a lesson in parenting, nor am I trying to extol my virtues ( there are very few! )  It did however get me thinking of the values of saying thank you and the part that very simple yet enormously valuable expression can play in the job search.

How many of you ever write to say thank you after an interview?  Have you ever considered the value were you to do so?

Think of the impact on your application.  You may be one of three, five, ten invited in.  That process is often protracted ( it ought not to be but invariably is ).  Standing out from the crowd is tough.

Success is in the margins, the small things can make the biggest difference.  We are all human.  Anything that can help you to remain at the forefront of the hiring managers mind is to be recommended.  How long would it take you to write a note to thank your interviewer for their time and to re – affirm, politely, succinctly, your interest in the job?

Even if you have made the decision that this particular post isn’t for you, what impact a short note of thanks?  If another job was to arise in that organisation that is more in line with your ambitions, how would such a note impact your chances of success in a future job application?

It takes a second to say thank you, minutes to write an email to express your thanks.  Think of the potential impact on your job search?  What harm can it do?

Manners cost nothing.  Think about that next time you apply for a job.

Leave a comment

Filed under Careers, Interviews

Want to get ahead in your career? Some examples of what not to do!

Looking for a job is a serious business.  If you are out of work it’s no laughing matter, finding employment can be an incredibly stressful experience.  From time to time to shed a little humour,  to offer a little light entertainment can help.

A survey published by career site www.careerbuilder.co.uk offers fascinating ( and indeed entertaining ) insight in to what not to do on your job application.  Some of the highlights include ;

The job seeker who cited God as his referee!

One job seeker who boasted that he was a direct descendant of the vikings!

An Applicant who gave only a name and number and the phrase ” I want a job ”

A CV written in rhyme!

An application sent from the email address ” loves beer”!

Standing out from the crowd is incredibly difficult.  However there are some basics that you should apply that will greatly enhance your chances of success.  Like all good advice, there is little by way of startling revelation.  The simple consistent application of best practice gets results.

Want to know what employers want to see?  Careerbuilder.co.uk surveyed 700 employers.  The following link will take you to the newspaper article highlighting the key findings of the report.  There is some great advice to be found here.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8339278/CV-howlers-revealed-by-employers.html

1 Comment

Filed under Careers

The EU, Quotas and an apology

A health warning on today’s post, for two reasons.  First, expect a rant.  This morning two of my favourite subjects caught my eye, the European Union and the subject of quotas.  Second, be prepared for an admission that I might have been wrong.

Shocked?  You should be.  I suspect this may be my first public admission of my own fallibility since 1987 ( I lost an argument over which one of the Farris Brothers played lead Guitar in INXS , it was Tim, not Andrew ).

Back to matters at hand.  Namely the EU and Quotas.  So here we go.  Ready, aim…….

Wait a minute.  Here comes the admission.  It looks as though for once I owe our good neighbours ( in that enormous waste of our hard-earned cash, I had to get it in somewhere ) in Brussels an apology.  It seems that for once they might actually be needed to do some good.

The subject of quotas is on the Agenda again and I am not talking about Fish Stocks.  This time it is back to the issue of diversity in the workplace, in particular in the boardroom.

3% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are Women.  In Europe, only 12% of Board posts are occupied by Women.  In the UK, the picture is a little better.  In the FTSE 100 the number of women in Board Posts is up in the last 10 years from 6.9% to 12.5%.  A step in the right direction, but there are still only 79 female Executives on the Board of Britain’s largest companies.

It makes no sense.  This is not 1811, this is 2011.  Organisations the world over are ignoring 50% of the population when it comes to picking top talent.  The debate rages on and yet little changes.  It’s a nonsense.

A 2010 report by McKinsey stated

“Operating results of companies which have greater gender diversification are 56% higher”

In 2007, A Goldman Sachs report evidenced

“closing the gender gap could boost U.S. gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic growth, by as much as 9%, and up to 13% in the euro zone”.

Based on the stats, business doesn’t seem to be getting the message that Talent is not defined by gender, race, sexual orientation or religious belief.  It is not defined by geography or culture, by nationality or heritage.  Get the message, pick the very best you can afford to deliver the very best value to shareholders, customers, employees, the wider world.

I don’t want to be told who to hire.  I don’t believe in quotas, it encourages all sorts of problems when it comes to hiring, but if the message doesn’t get through, politicians will step in and a quota is what we will get.  Politicians and Business don’t mix (with any degree of success).  Quota’s and Business don’t work.  If Business Leaders don’t wake up, then a quota is what we will get and we have only ourselves to blame.  For once, the politicians might just be right.

I’ll leave you with a sense of just what we are up against in the battle to get this message through.  Recently Josef Ackerman, CEO of Deutsche Bank, was reported to have commented that having more Women in the Board Room would make board meetings “prettier and colourful”.  I’ll leave you to make your own judgement.

2 Comments

Filed under Corporate Governance, Employee Engagement, Hiring

Never knowingly underdressed

A couple of articles over the weekend focused on the decline of the business suit.  One such article on the BBC website highlighted a recent poll of 2,000 British workers by online bank First Direct that “found that only one in 10 employees wears a suit every day, more than a third of staff opt for jeans and only 18% regularly wear a tie”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12418046

This got me to thinking as to the impact of the ever-changing face of workplace attire on the interview process.  Knowing your audience is crucial to interview success.  Doing your homework as to the culture, the people, the environment in to which you are heading is a crucial part of your interview preparation.  So, what to wear?

A simple rule of thumb applies.  You are unlikely to be criticised, to lose out on a job opportunity, for being overdressed.  You are however very likely to be ruled out for being under – dressed ( in every sense of the phrase ).  So don’t hedge your bets.  Once your through the door you have earned the right to sit alongside your colleagues in board shorts and flip-flops if that’s de rigueur.  Until that happens, step up, smarten up, sharpen up.

6 Comments

Filed under Interviews

Work / Life Balance; Fact or Fiction

So just what is this thing we call work life balance?  Does it even exist?  Is it something that deep down we all know that we should aspire to, or even better should actually achieve?  Are we scared to try?

In this last couple of years its gotten harder for sure.  The work place has gotten tougher, business has gotten tougher, just hanging in there has gotten tougher.  Technology has advanced to such an extent that the line between work and home has gotten ever more blurred.  Will we ever find the answer?

There is no such thing as perfect work life balance.  Don’t let anyone ever tell there is.  This is not something that can be answered in a text book.  Do your best to do what works for you.  Do your best to do that which leaves you fulfilled.

Regular Readers now my views on TED talks.  Simply awesome.  Here Nigel Marsh, Author of “Fat, Forty and Fired” gives his take on the ongoing battle for work / life balance.  Give this a look, it leaves you asking some challenging questions as to just how you spend your time and why.

Leave a comment

Filed under Corporate Governance